Paper Faces

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Ned Hoskin, Peggi Fournier, Paul Dodd and Martin Edic pictured on Hi-Techs postcard that came with Archive Records single, Boogaloo Rendezvous” b/w “Subscriptions”. Thanks to Stan for postcard image.

The Hi-Techs were different. Our lead instrument was a soprano sax. We loved the Contortions and James White, Bush Tetras, Kid Creole and James Brown. The Hi-Techs recorded “Pompeii” in 1979 in the basement of Robert Slide’s (Robert  played bass with me in New Math’s first line up) house. Duane Sherwood played synth swishes. Tom Kohn and Marty Duda released the song on their “From The City That Brought You Absolutely Nothing” compilation. Ned joined the band in 1980 and we played about twenty gigs at Scorgies before forming Personal Effects. Our first gig was opening for New Math. This was fitting as I had left New Math a few months before and we were all friends. Kevin Patrick called us at the last minute, as in the night of the show. Peggi and I were already in our pjs when he called. We used to practice a lot so we were ready. We wrote all of our material and our songs were fast. We could barely keep up with them. We had lots of songs and never did the same set twice.

Dick Storms asked us to record a single for his new Archive Records label. Dick had already put out Bahama Mama’s “Lonesome Cowboy” single. I played with New Math on “Die Trying” which Dwight Glodell recorded so we lined him up to produce the single. We did this at Craig Fennesy’s studio in the basement of his house in Hilton. We met Kevin Vicalvi there and he became our sound man and friend for life. “Boogaloo Rendezvous” b/w “Subscriptions (Are My Prescription)” became the second release on Archive Records. Bill Jones printed the cover at Asymmetrical Press on Smith Street. We started playing gigs in Buffalo with bands like the Stains, Paper Faces, The Vores, The Jumpers, and 10,000 Maniacs.

Peggi sang most songs and Ned Hoskin sang a few. Ned liked the Clash and the Boss so his songs had a sincere, working class hero vibe to them. Ned wrote the anthem, “Warren”, for Brian Horton and Blue Hand played it every time we saw them. Ned was a great rhythm guitar player and a big part of the Hi-Techs sound.

We recorded a second single for Archive called “Screamin’ You Head”. It was backed with “A Woman’s Revenge,” a funky number that was based on the Kiss and Darling photo novellas that we used to devour. You could buy them at Bertha’s on East Main near where we practiced. Bertha was too big to get up from behind the counter so she barked orders at another woman who just couldn’t move fast enough for Bertha. “Screamin’ You Head” got quite a bit of play in clubs in NYC. A Danceteria DJ named Iolo was instrumental in getting us club dates in New York and eventually our deal with Cachalot Records but by then we had morphed into Personal Effects.

One of the most interesting gigs Hi-Techs did was a live performance at Channel 31 in 1980 (before it went Fox) with Ozzy Osbourne. There was some other band on the bill too but I can’t remember who that might have been. It seems like Marty Duda had something to do with this date. They tried to record all three of us in one night and Ozzy went first. When we got there Ozzy’s roadies were all drunk. They had spent most of the night in the bar downstairs on the corner of Alexander and East. And they took forever to get their stuff taken down. We set up around three in the morning and played three songs – “Pompeii”, “Boogaloo Rendezvous” and “A Woman’s Revenge”. Here is a video of that performance. Channel 31 used the live audio in the first song and then they synced the footage of our second and third songs to the vinyl versions of those songs because they fucked up the sound. And they got Kathy Buckley to prance around as if she had anything to do with the band. That kind of bummed us out at the time.

Hi-Techs – “Pompeii,” “Screamin You Head” and “A Woman’s Revenge”

(From the Channel 31 show “After Hours,” recorded sometime in 1980-81)
To view this video in high quality, go to YouTube and select the “watch in high quality” link.

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Deep Sleep

Paul Szp of Paper Faces at Scorgies

Paul Szp of Paper Faces at Scorgies. Photos by Paul Dodd. (Click on photos for enlargements.)

One of my favorite bands from the Scorgies days was Paper Faces. They were technically from Kenmore, outside of Buffalo, but they seemed like they were from another world or Europe at least. The two main guys were brothers, Paul and Brian Szpakowski or Szp for short. Paul played keyboard and Brian guitar but the whole band seemed to always be switching instruments. Dave McCreery played a tight rhythmic guitar and George played a loose limbed bass or guitar. Bill Moore played drums like a drum machine, not a big muscular beat but a detached, mechano style that seemed very cool. There is a new band out there called Paper Faces but don’t be fooled. These guys own that name. We met Paper Faces at the Hi-Techs’ first gig in Buffalo. Debra Lary booked the show. We had met Debra when she brought The Vores to a show in WCMF’s back room. The Dictators played the back room and Robert Fripp did his Fripatronics thing there too. Both were outstanding shows. I don’t know why they don’t do that sort thing anymore.

Paul Szp and Dave McCreery of Paper Faces at Scorgies

Paul Szp and Dave McCreery of Paper Faces at Scorgies

The place we played in Buffalo was called the Masthead and it was tiny. It was us, Paper Faces and a handful of patrons. Late in their set George started making up lyrics about the spots on the floor of the bar. He had us all looking down as he described this overlooked universe. We were sold on these guys and booked a gig for them at Scorgie’s with the Hi-Techs. We must have played ten times with them at Scorgies (judging from the Posters section) and many more in Buffalo at the Continental, McVans and the Schuper House. Buffalo seemed so much tougher than Rochester. The bars were open til four so the night was long. Hookers roamed the streets outside the Continental and people said Bud, who managed the place, ran around in a Nazi uniform. All I know is, we had to ask him to shovel off the stage before we set up our equipment because the German Shepards he kept in there shit on it. They had a dj and a dance floor upstairs so the bands had to compete with that crap. It was all worth it. We went back to to Paper Faces’ rehearsal place one night and partied til the sun came up. We met Mark Freeland and Tony Biloni through the Faces and Toni took us to a party with Tony Conrad from the pre VU days.

George Scherer of Paper Faces at Scorgies

George Scherer of Paper Faces at Scorgies

Paper Faces released a killer 45 with a beautiful sleeve of their popular song, “Riding A Bomb”. “In the distance I see people praying. Give us what we need, carbonated liquids. We all need each other’s company.” and the refrain, “I’ll be hungry in the morning. I’ll be hungry in the morning.” David Kane produced it. Margaret Explosion did a gig with his “Them Jazzbeards” a few years back. I liked the b-side, “Deep Sleep”. We played it tonight. I wish I had one of those Crosley turntables so I could rip singles like Kevin Patrick does. Paper Faces have been in a deep sleep long enough. I wish they would come back.

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